Long After Midnight
Opening with the title track, Lindsley doesn’t waste any time sharing the music she gathered on her sojourn. With its echoes of Thelonious Monk’s iconic ballad “Round Midnight,” James Wilson and Tricia Lee Sampson’s lovely “Long After Midnight” offers an alluring invitation to a seductive nighttime world that pulses with the heartbeat of Chambers’ imposing bass. She introduces another gem by Wilson, a California-raised jazz guitarist who teaches music at the American School of Paris, with “Skylark Song,” a delightfully fluttery melody on which her poignant vocals swoop and glide with Cid’s lustrous flute.
With her relaxed phrasing and unfussy approach to arrangements, Lindsley fully claims several oft-recorded songs as her own. Her concise, amused version of “Star Eyes” finds more light than heat in the Gene de Paul/Don Raye standard. She mines the deep vein of Irving Berlin’s treasure trove with an appropriately Caribbean-inflected “Heat Wave” and a tear-jerk torchsong take on “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me,” a rarely heard gem associated with Rosemary Clooney from the 1954 film White Christmas.
The album’s emotional centerpiece is another undersung chestnut, “The House Is Haunted (By the Echo of Your Last Goodbye),” an ache-filled lament she delivers with just the right blend of resignation and regret. A pinch of funk dials up the sass of “Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend,” while Lindsley’s insouciant spirit is on full display on her slinky on-the-spot version of the 1966 Donovan hit “Mellow Yellow.” The album closes with sleek and sensuous trot through “Surrey With the Fringe on Top,” a song tackled more often by instrumentalists than singers. As a winning bonus track, she delivers a brief impromptu medley of “When Your Smiling” and “Pennies From Heaven” featuring Benhammou’s dexterous brush work. As the dawn approaches and the evening’s revelry comes to an end, Lindsley hasn’t started to wear out her welcome.